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NIH Grant to Spur Innovation in Kansas and Four Other Central U.S. States

CHELSEA, Mich., Jan. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting (BBCetc) and its program partner, the University of Kansas, have been awarded a three-year FastTrack STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award is intended to help move scientific discoveries and technologies out of the lab and into commercial products to improve human health. Titled "Regional Technology Transfer Accelerator Hubs for Institutional Development Award (IDeA) States," the grant is managed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), an NIH Institute.

The IDeA program builds research capacities in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding. It supports basic, clinical, and translational research; faculty and student development; and scientific infrastructure improvements.

The NIH grant will support the creation of a shared accelerator called SHARPhub (Sustainable Heartland Accelerator Regional Partnership) in the Central IDeA region comprised of Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The SHARPhub will collaborate with university leadership in the five states starting with a pilot program in Kansas during year one of grant. SHARPhub will provide infrastructure and expertise, produce educational tools (e.g., curricula, texts, webinars) and offer business development microgrants to promote commercialization of academic research and to build an entrepreneurial culture at the IDeA institutions.

Becky Aistrup, managing partner, BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting (BBCetc) and Douglas Wright, PhD, vice chair, Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, serve as principal investigators on the project.

"We are delighted by the opportunity to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Central region and support the translation of technologies from lab to market," said Aistrup. "A significant part of SHARPhub's focus will be on assisting startups with development of competitive grant applications for the federal SBIR and STTR programs. These two programs provide a compelling source of non-dilutive funding that encourages technology-based businesses to explore ideas and profit from their commercialization."

"During our pilot year we will be conducting training and coaching a cohort of biotech researchers at the University of Kansas focused on forming startups based on their technologies. The inaugural class of the entrepreneurial training program, Startup School, was launched January 8, 2019," added Wright.

For more information about SHARPhub and to apply for the Year 1 cohort, visit:

Contact: Jayne Berkaw
Phone: (734) 930-9741

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Last Updated: 31-Jan-2019